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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Hard decision

Well, it's official: I've withdrawn from the psych course. As I said on Facebook, I feel more than a little sick right at the moment, having just made it official: not only does it twinge to lose the money I paid (if I'd withdrawn last week, I'd have gotten at least some of it back, dammit), but I'm also simply disappointed that I'm not going to have the whole experience. Still, it does make sense to get out now. I spent today reading for the paper I would have had to write for next Wednesday, and I realized that I would have to put in a lot more time to get the paper actually written--and meanwhile, I was feeling frustrated that I wasn't doing the work on my own project. I know I'll feel relieved eventually; I just have to go through a little phase of feeling some ouch first.

So, I didn't get any sabbatical work done today, and now I won't (sun's over the yardarm), but after I go to the meeting tomorrow morning (ick) and then clean up some other loose ends around campus, I can come back home--or take the laptop to one of the coffee houses--and crank away at it. And it will be a while before other distractions start to get in my way (prepping a brand new course, the MDC130: Science, Culture and Technology, and making adjustments to my syllabi for 101 and Mystery and Detective Fiction, which I'll also be teaching in the fall, hooray).

Another ouch today was that I finally was brave enough to look at a document put together by the head of the Creative Writing Program, spelling out the required qualifications for people to teach creative writing courses. Because we're in the process of getting a discrete degree on the books, it's important to specify qualifications and to make them relatively rigorous. There were two options for qualifications--and both automatically excluded me. I wrote an e-mail to the co-chairs of the Creative Writing Committee (not to the entire membership) saying that I would have to recuse myself from any discussion of the qualifications--and would have to withdraw from the committee. I also told them that it makes me very sad to know I won't be teaching Fiction Writing again, but I completely agree with the qualifications they propose. We have people on our faculty with specific degrees in Creative Writing and with extensive records of publication. The one qualification I had was that I was an active member of the Creative Writing Committee and a supporter of the work of the Creative Writing Project--but that's probably going to be the one thing that people argue about including. (Some of the actual writers on our faculty have nothing to do with either the committee or the project.)

Ah well.

On the other hand, I don't think I mentioned yesterday, but after I'd gotten the snotty e-mail from a colleague about her schedule and had fallen on my sword, taking the blame, the two other members of the committee wrote e-mails to the snot, rallying to my defense: they'd done some research into what her schedule was versus her preference form, and there were other reasons why she got the schedule she did, apart from my working under a faulty understanding of requirements. It was lovely to have them so quick to jump in there; that soothed the little scratchy places where the snot's little poison darts had just barely gotten through my armor.

I plan to go into the morning meeting loaded for bear, as my dad would have said, but I'm aware that the heavy ammunition may not be required. The dean is a milquetoast of the highest order, can't stand up to the administration to save her life (never mind our academic integrity), and I'm hoping she'll realize she has a better shot of getting the administration to back down than she does getting us to let go of what we know is right. It certainly will be interesting.

For this evening, I'm going to simply breathe through the aftermath of the decision about the psych course and then set everything aside until tomorrow. (OK, Scarlett, it's your line.)

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